This winter was the mildest one I’ve experienced in my 7+ years in the Bay Area. It barely rained in October, November, or December. When the calendar flipped to 2012, all the snow-sports people were getting desperate. In late January, it finally stormed a little — enough that Sports Basement canceled its “20%-off-everything-until-it-snows-in-Tahoe” discount — then went right back to weirdly dry conditions, save for a few sprinkles every now and then.
But March. In and out like a freaking lion. Three weekends now of crazy rain, or howling wind, or some other havoc-wreaking weather condition, usually placed exactly over the calendar hours dedicated to group workouts. And obviously, with 43 people to corral, you don’t just look at weather.com and say “oh hey, looks like the sky is clearing around noon, let’s wait it out.” You cross your fingers, and hope, and throw a garbage bag over your bike seat and drive to the meeting point anyway — only to find out that the needle-like rain and gusty winds mean riding is only recommended for the most experienced rain-riders and you’ve just driven 40 minutes to run for 40 minutes in a downpour.
Builds character, right?
So instead of Saturday’s triple brick — 8 miles of riding, 30 minutes of running, 8 miles of riding, 20 minutes of running, 8 miles of riding, 10 minutes of running, fin — the few/proud/foolish of us banged out 4-ish miles through muddy trails and flooding neighborhoods. (One lady in the picture above did actually manage one loop of riding; she told us she decided to call it quits after nearly running over a duck who could no longer tell the bike path from the bay.) My tri buddy and I then drove back to the city and continued our workouts at our respective gyms, only to text each other furiously at noon when the clouds broke. The triple brick is one of those workouts I’d never do on my own — for motivation reasons as well as logistical ones — and I hope it shows back up on our training schedule at some point. But once again, I just had to let the plan go.
Sunday was sunny and gorgeous, still windy, but a great day for a group run on part of the Escape from Alcatraz tri course to the Sandladder, 200 or so stairs above Baker Beach. We ran up Lincoln and then looped down a trail, onto the beach, and up the ladder. I’d be lying if I said I ran even a single one of those stairs, but my power-walk got me to the top with a teeny bit of energy to spare every time.
(Photo: jdnx via Flickr)
Four Sandladder loops + the run there and back (ending with a cool-down to Hopper’s Hands to tick another San Francisco running landmark off the list) left me with 5.8 miles on the day, and just over 10 for the weekend, and today I feel … great? My sparkle leg continues to baffle me, but I’ll take this type of baffling.
Sunday’s real endurance event came in the afternoon, when Pete and I headed to REI for our annual dividend shopping spree. I got the REI credit card a couple of years ago, and now Dividend Day is basically a second Christmas. Last year — our first of getting the giant dividend — we both did a full upgrade of our exercise wardrobes and I banished crappy Old Navy cotton tanks for good. This year I came home with a big bag of triathlon goodies, including tri shorts, a real waterproof jacket (…that I could have used on Saturday, I know, etc.), a bike pump, proper sunglasses, and one of those absorbs-much-more-than-its-weight pack towels.
I’m still kicking myself for walking out of there with a gift card still in my wallet, but I might yet use that to upgrade my helmet, since I have to go back anyway. (I can’t figure out how to change the lenses on the sunglasses, and after breaking the bike cadence sensor I bought by doing a similar “huh, maybe I just pull on THIS part” thing about 20 seconds after taking it out of the box, I’ve decided that all bending and tugging on sporting goods will now only take place with a qualified salesperson present.) That plus a race belt and I think I’ll be good to go with gear. Still deciding what to do about a tri top, but my favorite tank-with-pockets is going to get a try-out under my wetsuit during our first open-water swim this weekend and then I’ll decide.
Which is good, because my first tri is now in less than two weeks. Eep! Guess I should find a hotel…